Briers named as Wales captain

Briers named as Wales captain

Lee Briers has been named captain of Wales as he returns to international Rugby League after a three-year absence.

The former Warrington skipper will make his Welsh comeback this Sunday when Wales take on Scotland in their first Alitalia European Cup game at Old Anniesland in Glasgow (kick-off 2.30pm).

Wales coach Iestyn Harris has also announced that last season’s skipper Jordan James, who led Wales to European Cup glory, will be vice-captain.

"It feels really good to be back," said Briers. "I’ve missed it. It’s good to get back with the Welsh players again, there are a lot of new faces in the side since I last played but it’s a really good atmosphere.

"The body’s feeling good, I had a bit of unfinished business and I want to help Wales get into the 2011 Four Nations. I think that’ll be massive to help Wales Rugby League and also there’s some really good young kids in the Wales squad that I think I can help in this stage of their career."

Briers, along with most of Wales’ first choice squad, took no part in the game against Italy, but he was at The Racecourse assisting the coaching staff and is now looking forward to his comeback game on Sunday in Scotland.

"Games against Scotland are always difficult," he admits. "I don’t think I’ve ever won up there so it’ll be nice to break that duck. They’re going to be a very physical side but I’m sure with the players we have, we’re going to be able to handle that.

"It’s going to be a very tough tournament. We’re going to take each game at a time and hopefully win each time. All games will be tough but we’re concentrating on Scotland now and need to prepare well for that. I’m really looking forward to pulling the three feathers on again."

Harris has announced his 20-man squad for the Scotland trip which contains just seven players who took part in the defeat against Italy.

There is just one potential debutant in Jacob Emmitt, who played in the engage Super League Grand Final for St Helens against Wigan Warriors last week.

Harris has also announced that former Wales skipper Damian Gibson, who is currently coaching in the Leeds Rhinos academy set-up, will be one of his assistants for the tournament alongside Anthony Seibold.

"Damian took the lead role against Italy on the coaching side and I took a backward step," Harris said. "I thought he handled himself well and really led from the front."

Harris knows that a win against Scotland is vital for Wales’ Alitalia European Cup hopes but admits that it will be a difficult task.

"It’s a little bit of into the unknown," he said. "They can decide the width of the pitch and we don’t know what the surface is going to be like until we train there on Friday.

"So we’ll have sessions there on Friday and Saturday, get a feel for the surface and the dimensions of the pitch and understand how we’re going to play.

"Scotland will be strong, they’re a lot stronger than last year as are Ireland and France too. It’s a tough competition this time with the winners going through to the 2011 Four Nations, so it’s imperative that we get off to a good start. If you lose the first game, it’ll be extremely difficult to win the competition so there’s a lot of emphasis on this first game."

Wales’ only home game in the tournament is against Ireland at The Gnoll in Neath on Sunday 17th October (kick-off 2pm). Tickets priced £4 for juniors and £8 for adults can be bought by going to www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk.

Wales squad for Scotland: Mark Lennon (Cronulla Sharks), Chris Beasley, Ian Webster (both Central Queensland Comets), Ben Flower, Elliot Kear, Gareth Thomas, Gil Dudson, Jordan James, Lee Williams, Lloyd White (all Crusaders), Ross Divorty (Featherstone Rovers), Danny Jones (Keighley Cougars), Neil Budworth (Mackay Cutters), Aled James, Christiaan Roets (both South Wales Scorpions), Jacob Emmitt (St Helens), Ian Watson (Swinton Lions), Lee Briers (Warrington Wolves), Rhys Williams (Warrington Wolves), Jordan Ross (York City Knights).

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